If I could choose a single image to define my childhood, it would be this awesome painting by Rudy Obrero made for the Masters of the Universe Castle Grayskull box artwork… simply amazing stuff.
If there’s something I really love from MOTU is the artwork created for the different media used to promote the line. Among many other artists, Earl Norem was one of the most commissioned to create illustrations for MOTU, from posters to the art featuring in the toy packages.
Do you remember the ThunderCats? If you’re 30 or older you probably do 🙂
ThunderCats, like He-Man / Masters of the Universe and Transformers was one of the coolest and successful cartoons back then. The good news is that they will be back on Cartoon Network with an all new show in 2011. Check the press release!
WARNER BROS. ANIMATION ANSWERS THE CALL WITH A NEW
TAKE ON THE CLASSIC ANIMATED SERIES “THUNDERCATS,”
TO AIR ON CARTOON NETWORK
TAKE ON THE CLASSIC ANIMATED SERIES “THUNDERCATS,”
TO AIR ON CARTOON NETWORK
(June 3, 2010 – Burbank, CA) – Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) has begun production on “ThunderCats,” an all-new animated series for Cartoon Network, based upon the iconic 1980s action classic. “ThunderCats” is the newest series from WBA, joining “Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” which was recently renewed for a third season, and the following forthcoming programs: “The Looney Tunes Show,” “MAD,” “Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated” and “Young Justice.” The announcement was made today by Sam Register, Executive Vice President, Creative Affairs, Warner Bros. Animation.
“In addition to being Warner Bros. Animation’s first anime series, ‘ThunderCats’ marks our most ambitious foray yet into fantasy,” said Register. “The realism and dynamic visual style we’ve achieved are sure to thrill viewers, and the cool weapons, vehicles and technology should help the show appeal to a diverse audience.”
The 21st century reimagining of the series marks a creative collaboration between WBA and Studio4°C, one of the most vibrant animation studios in Japan, with credits including “The Animatrix,” “Gotham Knights” and “Halo Legends.” WBA is working closely with Studio4°C, utilizing the latter’s expertise to give the “ThunderCats” characters a new cutting-edge look while remaining true to the compelling storylines and mythology of the original series.
“We at Studio4°C are excited to be in this creative partnership with Warner Bros. Animation to bring ‘ThunderCats’ to life,” said Eiko Tanaka, President and CEO, Studio4°C. “This collaboration combines the strengths of our two companies – high production values and great storytelling – toward reintroducing this classic fan-favorite to a new audience.”
Roaring to life through WBA and Studio4°C’s use of the Japanese animated artistry of anime, “ThunderCats” characters Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro, Cheetara and others will spring off the screen with realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations.
The new “ThunderCats” will appeal to viewers who have loved the characters all their lives as well as young newcomers to the franchise. A sweeping tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O’s ascension to the throne – and of those who would thwart his destiny at any cost – takes on epic dimensions in this sharp new telling. As the forces of good and evil battle each other in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power, Lion-O and his champions learn valuable lessons of loyalty, honor and mortality in every episode.
“ThunderCats” is executive produced by Sam Register (“Teen Titans,” “Ben 10,” “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”). Michael Jelenic (“Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” “Wonder Woman”) and Ethan Spaulding (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”) are the producers.
About Warner Bros. Animation
Warner Bros. Animation (WBA) has been producing award-winning original animation since 1930, when it released its first cartoon, Sinkin’ in the Bathtub. Since then, WBA’s characters have set the standard for innovative, quality animation. Producing for network and cable television, online, home entertainment and feature films both domestically and internationally, WBA is highly respected for its creative and technical excellence, as well as maintaining the studio’s rich cartoon heritage. WBA also oversees the creative use of, and production of animated programming based on, classic animated characters from the Hanna-Barbera and DC Comics libraries. WBA is one of the most honored animation studios in history, garnering a grand total of six Academy Awards®, 36 Emmy® Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, an Environmental Media Award, a Parents’ Choice Award, a Humanitas Award, five Prism Awards and 20 Annie Awards.
Studio4°C is Japan’s leading animation studio. Led by producer Eiko Tanaka, Studio4°C is renowned for its ultra-energetic, cutting-edge feature films, progressive music videos, radical short films and numerous outstanding television commercials, promotional materials, video/computer games and TV series. Studio4°C was an early adopter of digital technology and is now a brand name with global recognition for its progressive hybrid visuals and funky crossover creations. In 2003, through a joint production with Warner Bros. Studios, Studio4°C created the revolutionary “The Animatrix.” Studio4°C’s crazily innovative feature film “Tekkonkinkreet” was a 2007 Oscar® nominee in the Animated Feature Film category. Taking its name from the fact that water is at its densest at four degrees Celsius, Studio4°C represents the creative manifesto to “create only works that are dense with substance and extreme quality.”
Real Name: Karak Nul
In life, Nul was a shifty bounty hunter who spent years attempting to break into Castle Grayskull, obsessed with the countless legends that it contained the power to be Master of the Universe. In death, he was cursed and banished into the dimension of Infinita, forever chained to his past crimes. He was brought back to Eternia by a magical spell of light cast by Skeletor to locate the most evil warriors in the five dimensions. Provided with a Scythe of Doom, Nul agreed to join forces with Skeletor and quickly became known as Scareglow, thanks to his ability to burst forth and freeze his enemies with fright.
Back in the 80’s, Scareglow was one of the figures released near the end of the vintage line and due to this, it’s one of the most sought figures for vintage collectors. Dubbed as “The evil ghost of Skeletor”, Scareglow cause some confusion since no one back then could figure out if this was Skeletor in ghost form or an evil ghost at Skeletor’s command. In the classics line, a back story was created for our pal Scareglow and now we know who he really is. The classics version is very true to the original, yet improved in many ways like all the other figures in the classics line.
Scareglow comes with one of the most peculiar accessories of the line (so far): A Cursed Grayskull reliquary that contains the key to Castle Grayskull but it’s impossible to open (at least for the bad guys since we can open and check the key inside).
This is one of my favorite figures of the line, Scareglow is one of those figures that’s impossible not to like. He’s a skull, he has a Scyth, a cape and he glows in the dark! The cool factor is way over the roof on this one.
Try to sleep with this guy on your nightstand… guaranteed grim reaper nightmares!
I really tried not to start the Masters of the Universe Classics line reviews with He-Man, but it wouldn’t be the same… He-Man is the main character of the line and series, so it would only be fair to start with him. There will be other He-Man figures I’ll review later on this MOTUC review series but this is the main one, the quintessential tribute to the action figure that drove kids from all over the world completely insane in the 80’s.
So, ladies and gentlemen, we start our series of Masters Of The Universe Classics reviews with He-Man: The Most Powerful Man In The Universe!
He-Man – The Most Powerful Man in the Universe
Real Name: Adam of the House of Randor
A direct descendant of the legendary King Grayskull, Prince Adam of Eternia was chosen to protect his ancestor’s Power Sword from evil. At first he used a techno vest with a built-in force field to fight evil, but Adam has since learned to combine both halves of the Power Sword, using it to channel the energy of the Elders and become He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe! He guards the safety of all Eternia along side the heroic Masters of the Universe
Although He-Man was not the first figure to be released in this line (King Grayskull was the first), he was the first one I managed to get when it was re-released in November. The figures in this line are a tribute to all the MOTU lines released in the 80’s, 90’s and 200x’s, all of them adapted to today’s action figure standards. There are lots of points of articulation in all the figures which make them very posable, but the what gives extreme value to this figures is the beautiful sculpting made by the Four Horsemen. While you can immediately identify He-Man (and all the other figures), there has never been such a beautiful and detailed figure of him like this one.
Most figures in this line come with 3 or more accessories, He-Man comes with a Sword of Power, Half Power Sword, Battle Axe, Shield and a removable Chest Armor, all similar to the original figure but way more detailed.
The Chest Armor has a slot / holder that fits the Sword of Power or the Battle Axe so you don’t always have to display the figure holding his weapons. If you are a MOTUC collector and noticed a color change in the Chest Armor, than Kudos to you 🙂 My He-Man figure has the Chest Armor that came with the Green Goddess figure, which is exactly the same as the one that comes with He-Man but the gray is not as dark and fits better with the weapons color scheme.
He-Man is indeed a must have figure if you are a MOTUC collector or just a nostalgic fan of the original toy or cartoon. It’s not available at the moment at Mattycollector.com but you can find it easily on eBay or in the He-Man.org Forum Marketplace.
Next Review Hint: He’s a glowing bad guy 😉
My last post worked like a kind of a trigger. Remembering all those cool toys and shows we had when we’re kids really brought back some strong memories of how much I loved some of that stuff. From all those toys / shows the one I was most fond of was definitely Masters of the Universe. To this day I still remember how I was introduced to He-Man and his buddies, a TV commercial showing the first figures, vehicles and what was probably the greatest playset ever made: Castle Grayskull. The commercial was very cool, with a strong voice behind singing “He-Man, He-Man” and kids playing in a huge diorama with all the figures… how could a kid not be instantly hooked???
My initial reaction was “WANT!!!” and there I went to ask my parents to buy me the entire collection… this was how advertising worked the kids on those days 😀 Curious, my parents went to the usual toy shop and found out that each figure cost, back in 1982, 2500$00 (in escudos our old currency), €12,50 on today’s “money”! WOW, talk about huge money back on those days! Guess that He-Man and company was out of the question for me, my parents told me thay couldn’t buy toys with those prices… I was sad, but it didn’t matter, I was a smart kid and understood this things, Christmas was almost there and I knew the usual Lego toys were there for me (yes, I loved Lego as well).
So, Christmas came, and by then I knew that I was going to get a Lego Space Station, I saw the big wrapped box stored on my parent’s dresser, I was already making plans on the ships I was going to build to play with it… I just didn’t know how wrong I was. At midnight we started to open presents, I went to the big box, my Lego Space Station, which was really Castle Grayskull! What a RUSH! My parents got me the most awesome toy of that year, I was nearly exploding with joy, my reaction was funny, still it wasn’t near the Nintendo 64 kid’s reaction.
But wait, there was more! With the Castle I also got Attack Track, He-Man’s all terrain vehicle and the mighty Battle Cat. But, (there’s always a but), the two figures I got were not from Masters of the Universe 🙁 I got two bootleg figures from a cheap mock collection that were sold back then. So, I had the Castle, a vehicle, He-Man’s tiger, but no He-Man or Skeletor… or anyone else from the line 😀
There was a reason for this. My parents bought all the toys from a Spanish shop that sold wayyyy much cheaper than it was sold in Portugal, but He-Man and Skeletor were sold out everywhere! That’s how big this line was back then! Years passed and I got a few more figures, real ones this time, but naturally I grew up and stopped playing with them, still I had them all stored in perfect conditions. Sadly, my mother gave all the Masters of the Universe toys to my cousins… I only manage to save He-Man and Battle Cat which I have until this day.
After the original MOTU line, two more followed, New Adventures He-Man, that changed all the universe of the line, He-Man went to the future followed by Skeletor, new heroes, new foes, crappy figures. In 2002 Mattel tried to resurrect the brand with a new cartoon and line of figures, this time more anime styled. The cartoon show was good, and they followed the classic line, including all the original characters and new ones, all with a new design. The line was well accepted by fans but not much by the real target audience, kids, and it lasted until 2007.
Back in October 2009 I was surfing the web and some how (can’t remember) I came across with Mattel’s Masters of Universe Classics line. A new line of figures had been started in 2008, this time only available through Mattel’s collector website – Mattycollector.com. Masters of the Universe Classics, MOTUC as it’s known among the fans and collectors, is a line for adult collectors, featuring figures from the original Masters of the Universe line, New Adventures He-Man and the 200x line. It’s an amazing line, the figures are sculpted by the Four Horsemen Studios, the same as the 200X line, but so far, no action features are included in the figures. They are highly posable, with 20 to 25 points of articulation and have very good paint jobs and extremely detailed.
I was very disappointed with one thing. I could get no figure whatsoever from Mattel’s site. You see, this figures are sold mainly through an annual subscription, which is only available to buy from July to August or when the figures are released, generally at the 15th of each month. This is a highly sought line, by collectors and scalpers alike, which means that if you want a figure for a low price, you have to get it from Mattel on the day it’s released. If you miss this window of opportunity, eBay is your destination.
When I visited Mattycollector.com they had He-Man announced to be re-released on November, along with two new other figures. I booked the day on my calendar and in November I ordered He-Man… and learned that in December Skeletor was being re-released… and booked the day and got the sucker. And that’s it. I said to my self that I was going to stop there. I just need the main guys, the good and the bad. This was until 31st December, when He-Man’s figure got delivered (yes, Matty’s packages take forever to get here).
Wow… The figure was even more amazing that I thought it was, bringing back that 80’s feeling I was so fond of . That was the He-Man I played with as a kid, adapted to the 21th century action figure standards. In January, Skeletor came, and I was even more amazed. The figure is probably one of the best of the line.
I decided to collect the line, and by now I already have eight figures, all amazing and that I will review here in the next days. This line has the best action figures for adults available out there, and if you were / are a fan of the old Masters of the Universe line, you need / you have / you owe it to yourself one of this figures.
Closing this post, that’s going very very long, there’s a rumor that with the upcoming Masters of the Universe movie, Mattel will release this line on retail, still it’s just a rumor. For now, if you want to score a few figures, your best chances are Matty’s website on the 15th each month (16th this month and it’s Battle Cat day 😀 ), eBay or the He-Man.org forums, where all the collectors and fans unite to discuss and trade / buy / sell figures and other merchandise MOTU related. You can even find some of the old figures there 😉
I’m 31 years old. If you’re somehow like me, in your 30’s, there’s a big chance that we share some common memories of our childhood. The toys, the cartoons, the TV shows, the video games, stuff that most of us, as kids enjoyed and remember fondly to this day. Looking at today’s entertainment market it’s cool to see, that the ones that were kids on the 80’s and 90’s are now pulling the strings and resurrecting the stuff that made our dreams back then. Check this:
- The Transformers – Huge cartoon on the 80’s as well as a huge line of toys. Now there’re two big motion pictures on the brand with a third one on the way, a cartoon series as well as two toy lines that were created for both movies and cartoon series.
- V and Battlestar Galactica – Two of the most rememberable sci-fi TV shows from the 80’s are back with brand new shows (I know Galactica is over but it’s a good example).
- He-Man and The Masters of The Universe – If you’re a kid back then you probably had a MOTU figure. It was that big! A new cartoon was made in 2003 along with a new toy line but it wasn’t so successful as the original. Now Mattel is creating a new line of figures just for collectors inspired in the classic line. Oh, and there’s a new movie being made!
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Another cartoon and toy line that were everywhere. The brand completes it’s 25th Anniversary this year and to celebrate they’re made a new animated movie named Turtles Forever, as well as a re-issue of the original action figures. A new cartoon was made in 2003 and a CGI movie in 2007 along with a toy line for both.
- Fame – One of the biggest TV series back then was graced with a motion picture this year.
- Video Games – Well, I’m not even starting a list here. Remakes from classic games are born every day. Retrogaming is really catching up among developers and it brings the opportunity to new players to play old games.
So, are we running out of ideas or are we just resurrecting our passions from the past? Are we that nostalgic or are we just trying to make old successful formulas work again?
My take is that it’s a little bit of both. What’s your’s?